This excerpt taken from the HPQ 10-K filed Jan 14, 2005.
Impairment of our investment portfolio could harm our net earnings.
We have an investment portfolio that includes minority equity and debt investments. In most cases, we do not attempt to reduce or eliminate our market exposure on these investments and may incur losses related to the impairment of these investments and therefore charges to net earnings. Some of our investments are in public and privately-held companies that are still in the start-up or development stage, which have inherent risks because the technologies or products they have under development never may become successful. Furthermore, the values of our investments in publicly-traded companies are subject to significant market price volatility. We often couple our investments in technology companies with a strategic commercial relationship. Our commercial agreements with these companies may not be sufficient to allow us to obtain and integrate such products and services into our offerings or otherwise benefit from the relationship, and third parties, including competitors, subsequently may acquire these companies. Economic weakness could impact our investment portfolio in the future.